What is Permissive Parenting? Permissive Parenting Definition


Permissive Parenting

We all have different personalities and we constantly see in media how to identify your different personality styles.  There are different parenting styles too. What about your parents? What sort of parenting style did they have?

If you are parent, what kind of parenting style do you have? Is it different from your parents? If you are not a parent but plan to be or want to change your parenting style, would style would you want to use? Which is better?

In 1967 one of the more famous developmental psychologists, pioneered the development of four different parenting styles. Why are parenting styles important?

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 We no know that genetics and environment have roughly equal influence on human traits. In fact, many believe now that environment including nutrition can account for as much as 60-70 % of these traits. Parenting style determines largely the kind of environment a child grows up in. 

He is the Authoritative parent, Authoritarian parent, the Neglectful parenting style and then we have the Permissive parenting style.

Meaning of Permissive Parenting:

Do any of these should like you or a parent you know? You/They set rules but rarely enforce them, there are no consequences given for undesirable actions, there is a belief in a hands-off approach and that children do best with as little involvement from the parent as possible. 

These types of parents often step in only if there is a serious problem and approach parenting as being more of a friend than a parent role. Research suggests that children who grow up in a Permissive parenting environment will struggle in school and throughout their academic career.

As well, many of these kids demonstrate problems with authority and can have difficulty with following rules. It has been reported that these kids often grow up to later demonstrated higher levels of depression, obesity and generally lower self-esteem.

Some believe much of this is linked to the hands-off approach and not restricting junk food and unhealthy eating habits.

  • When I grew up my parents came from the hippy age, everything was all about love peace and freedom. I could do whatever I wanted, say whatever I wanted and behave however I wanted as long as I did not get into trouble with the law. I would definitely say they were permissive parents.
  • I believe that children today have too many freedoms and simply lack the respect of authority and having rules and consequences when children do not listen. There are too many permissive parents, and we need a more authoritative approach to parenting.


Sophia: Hey Sam, I just came from this interesting workshop on parenting styles.

Sam: Really? What do you mean parenting style?

Sophia: The speaker talked about different parenting styles people use with their kids.  There is Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Neglectful.  My parents definitely followed a permissive parenting approach, I guess that is why I might be more authoritative.

Sam: Permissive? What is that?

Sophia: Basically, it means that parents are like friends to their children and do not tell them what they should or shouldn’t do.

Sam: Your parents followed permissive parenting?

Sophia: Well my parents both grew up in the 70’s and their parents were very strict and believed that kids should be seen and not heard. So, they decided to so the complete opposite and raise us with freedom to do what we want and when we want to do it.

Sam: So, you are now the opposite? You are like authoritarian like your grandparents?

Sophia: You would think, but we are more authoritative. We establish clear rules and expect our kids to follow them and at the same time we allow them to have some freedom and exceptions at times to the rules. We use positive discipline and logical consequences when our kids are not behaving as they should.

Related Phrases & Phrasal Verbs

Going easy on – In the context of permissive parenting, we use the phrase going easy on someone to express that someone received a light punishment or no punishment at all for something they did wrong.

  • His parents are always going easy on him when he doesn’t finish his work, they are overly permissive parents.

Going along with – when we use this phrase in the context of permissive parenting, we are saying that someone is not objecting to confronting a problem when they should be.

  • We believe in going along with whatever choices out kids choose even if it what most people think is wrong, we strongly believe in permissive parenting.

Easy going – in the context of permissive parenting, someone who is easy going is mellow, carefree and avoids conflict.

  • Parents in the 80’s seemed follow more of a permissive parenting style the complete opposite of the authoritarian style of most parents in the 50’s and 60’s.

Lackadaisical – we use this phrase to suggest that someone is lazy, apathetic and unconcerned about things.

  • Some people believe that being using a permissive parenting style is a lackadaisical attitude and suggest that kids need more of a authoritative approach.

Broad minded – in the context of permissive parenting, we use this to suggest that parents are overly liberal and very tolerant parents.

  • My parents were broadminded, but I wouldn’t say they used a permissive parenting approach as I had basic rules I need to follow and if I didn’t there were consequences.

Related idioms:

Soft-shelled – as an idiom this phrase is used to describe someone who takes things lightly and does not like conflict.

  • My brother’s wife is so soft-shelled, she really believes in permissive parenting, I think she lets her kids walk all over her.

Tenderhearted – someone who is tenderhearted is overly kind.

  • Some parents believe that using a permissive parenting style of parenting is a way to be tenderhearted towards their kids.

Free and easy – when we use this phrase in the context of permissive parenting, we are saying that someone lacks discipline and avoids rules.

  • The hippy commune parents of the 60’s had a free and easy attitude where anything went. They were truly parents who followed a permissive style of parenting.

Open minded – in the context of permissive parenting, this phrase is used to describe someone who is very liberal and lenient in their behavior and actions.

  • Parents who use a permissive parenting style see themselves as being open minded in who they raise their children.

Free thinking – when we use this phrase in the context of permissive parenting, it is used to suggest that someone’s thinking is free from rules, is independent from any authority.

  • My grandparents believe that parents today are too freethinking in their approach to parenting, they complete disagree with the concept of permissive parenting.

Synonyms (other ways to say):


Liberal minded

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